Posted on November 10th, 2014 by Rachel
Our volunteer Wendy Davis feels that she’s had a connection to the Jewish Museum of Maryland since her father’s early involvement in the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland. She often thought about becoming involved herself, and as she tapered off her hours as a Speech Language Pathologist with Baltimore schools, she finally found the chance. Her love of history was influential in her decision and she became a Docent at the JMM in the summer of 2012.
Plaque in the JMM Board Room, naming Wendy’s father.
Wendy’s favorite part of being a JMM docent is engaging with the visitors and learning from them. She especially likes talking with people who have personal memories of the area and incorporating those stories into her tours. She fondly recalls one woman who said that as a young girl she attended services in B’nai Israel and vividly remembered that the ceiling was painted blue. While leading a gentleman from India through the Voice of Lombard Street exhibit, he was excited to share his childhood memory of watching his mother sew on the same model Singer sewing machine that is displayed in the exhibit.
Wendy gives a tour of our “Synagogue Speaks” exhibit, located in the basement of the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue.
While away from the JMM Wendy loves to travel. She is leaving on a trip to Thailand and Vietnam next week. She likes going places that teach about different cultures and/or places with family connections. She is a volunteer at Chizuk Amuno Congregation as a member of the gabbai team who coordinates aliyot during Shabbat and holiday services. And, she has discovered that another benefit of retirement is that she has the time to cook new recipes and really enjoys it. She finds new recipes online and on TV. She’s willing to try new things but generally follows the recipe. Her favorite cooking show is America’s Test Kitchen.
As Wendy continues as a docent at the JMM she looks forward to meeting more people from all over the world – China, India and Duluth, MN are just three places she remembers that visitors traveled from. She says the stories she heard from each are just as exotic as the next.
A blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at email@example.com or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.
Posted on November 4th, 2013 by Rachel
It’s time to highlight another volunteer at the JMM:
Betsey Kahn has been a volunteer at the JMM for close to 20 years. Her interest in the JMM came as a natural progression in her family. Her father, Moses W. Rosenfeld was a founding member of the Jewish Historical Society. He handled the legal work; Betsey is of the belief that he offered his services pro-Bono. She remembers him putting in a lot of effort and the entire family became very familiar with the place. Betsey is a long-time Baltimore Hebrew Congregation member. She and her sister, her daughters, and her granddaughters were all confirmed at BHC.
When she first began volunteering at the JMM she worked on photo projects. She admits it wasn’t the best fit. So, she became a Docent, which she loved. Unfortunately, due to mobility issues, she’s no longer able to take visitors on tours. Now, she greets visitors and answers the telephone as a Front Desk Receptionist.
It was a particularly good fit for Betsey to act as a docent as she taught Social Studies and English to middle school students for many years. In addition to volunteering at the JMM, Betsey volunteers twice a week in the Ophthalmology department at Sinai Hospital. She also likes to spend time knitting and needle pointing, plus, some of her very favorite activities are cooking and entertaining as well as flower arranging. She and a friend formed a garden club years ago, which came with the added bonus of flower arrangement lessons by her co-chairman.
Betsey has had a positive impact on the JMM in her many years of involvement. She is often willing to answer a last-minute plea for extra volunteer shifts. She ‘s proud to share that she contributes financially to the Museum in addition to her donating time. She is a wonderful role model for our entire volunteer corps.
A blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.
Posted on September 17th, 2013 by Rachel
Opening October 13th!
Everyone at the JMM is very excited for our upcoming exhibit, Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the American Civil War. Karen and Jobi are preparing the gallery while Rachel and Trillion are putting together the advertising and logistics for our various programs, and Ilene is creating new curricula and activities for the schoolchildren to do, and Esther is buying all the Civil War tchotkes you could ever want to buy. Meanwhile, Marvin has been developing a brand new tour of a very familiar space: the Lloyd Street Synagogue circa 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War.
Docent training begins.
The new tour will enable our visitors—especially our return visitors—to see the Lloyd Street Synagogue through new eyes. The extension of the synagogue in 1860 isn’t only significant because it covered up the original mikveh, but, more importantly, it demonstrates just how quickly the city of Baltimore—and by extension, its Jewish population—was growing. However, that same growth of the Jewish community created new problems that came to a head during the Civil War, as our visitors will learn on this tour. Visitors will also gain an intimate understanding of how Jews justified taking either the Confederate or the Union side of the conflict by hearing excerpts from contemporary writings by two prominent Baltimore rabbis (Rabbis Illoway and Einhorn, of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and Oheb Shalom, respectively).
Marvin holds up one of our cast of characters!
It won’t be easy for us and our volunteer docents to learn a whole new tour in just a few weeks, but we’re all eager for the challenge! Last week, we invited our docents to see the new tour, and we received some excellent constructive feedback in return. Marvin led us through the synagogue, giving us tips on how to guage the knowledge and interest of our groups by using a Civil War-era kepi as a shibboleth, and showing us how different parts of the synagogue illustrate the various issues that were important to the Jewish community here during the Civil War.
Marvin with the docents.
We will be premiering the 1861 Tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue when we open the new exhibit on October 12th for the Members Preview and on October 13th for the Public Opening. At the openings, the tour will be offered twice, and after that it will offered once a day in the place of the regular 3pm tour (all other daily tours will be the regular overview tour of the two synagogues).
We encourage you to come and “experience the Lloyd Street Synagogue you never knew!”
A blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. To read more posts by Abby, click here.